يُساء تفسير الكلمات آلاف المرّات إلّا أنّ للصمت معنيان: أولاهما: ليس لديكَ أيّ شيءٍ تقوله والثاني: أنّكَ لا ترغب أن يعرف الآخر ما تفكّر به.
أمّا التحدّث فهو ليس لكل شخص. فالبعض أُصمتوا بقوة وهذه حقيقة مأساوية في أماكن متعددة. وآخرون ممن يعيشون في دولٍ حيث التعبير عن الرأي هو حقّ مشروع لا يوّدون طرح أية إساءة بأقوالهم ولا لتهزّ المشاعر أو لتغيّر من الوضع القائم. البعض لا يوّد حتى التفكير بأنّ آراءهم لها قيمة أساساً ليجهروا بها.
نعم. للسكون. سكون الليل. السكون قبل العاصفة. سكون النوم. قد يكون مهدئاً ولكن ليس كاتماً للأنفاس ولكلمات تختبيء في طيّات السكون. إذا كان السكوت يخفي الرغبة بقول الحقّ فلا يكون سوى أداة للقمع.
اذا التزمت الصمت لأنك تودّ ذلك فهو اختيارك؛ إلاّ أنّه ليس كذلك إذا كُممت كلماتك وكُتمت.
photo © Isabel del Rio
I am silent, you are silent, we are all nothing but silence. I keep asking what is silence made of that it is so tempting, so easy to resort to, a pleasing blueprint to avoid rocking the boat. In silence, there are no battles to fight, no voices to raise, ultimately nothing to say. Some would think that silence is soothing enough, so stress-free to hear nothing; to express not a word of our heartrending inner chatter about the world; to mute that eternal running commentary that questions and challenges all we see and hear; to forget the going-around-in-circles about what-we-said and should-have-said and lost-the-opportunity-to-speak-your-mind.
This is what normally happens:
You speak up, and I listen, but say nothing.
You say: “How would you like to…”, and I say nothing.
You say: “You and I will…” and I say not a thing.
You say: “Come here …” and I remain silent.
Ah, silence… so cool to the touch and so unobtrusive, it runs smoothly on very little petrol. Imperceptible, unremarkable. You go unnoticed and never get into trouble. It is a sign of progress in the eyes of a few, for today’s progress is not the result of confrontation but the child of submission and compliance. Silence means nodding and saying yes, sir; of course, sir. You buy, you obey. You follow, you forbear. You consent, and so cannot complain. You say thank you and please everyone. And even though you ultimately are what you have silenced, what you become is someone who gave up on their words, like actors on stage who forget their lines.
But if you were to speak up and produce a thousand screams, a million words. If you were to break the silence like the world itself broke out from silence, for the way it started was by frantically banging away –it fashioned screams and yells when torn up from a dot to infinity, from nothing to absolutely everything under the sun -and it has gone on and on earsplitting everyone. But the world is not the only noisy thing.
Revolutions are noisy, bloody.
Revolts are noisy, treacherous.
Questioning someone’s words is noisy and can get you into serious trouble.
Even a question mark is noisy, for why ask if you are not prepared to raise your voice.
Why accept when you can probe, why settle for less when you can get the prize, why be tame when you can come out roaring.
“I would not like to do that.”
“You and I will not travel along that road.”
“I will not do this but that; I will doubt what you say; I will think for myself; I will speak my mind; I will talk and talk and talk until I burst!”
Silence may be gold, as they say. But words are laboriously made of steel, everlasting and shining, stopping anyone in their tracks if you just say them. Words have the strength of a bullet but do not maim, the sharpness of a knife without bloodshed, the gleam of the sun but they do not blind.
Speak up, I cannot hear you!